The thrill of the NFL Draft comes with the agony of not being selected for hundreds of college football players.
But in the minutes after the draft — and in some cases, in the final minutes of the draft — agony can quickly turn into a renewed focus and motivation.
That was the case for several former Wake Forest players last weekend. Six players signed as undrafted free agents — receiver Alex Bachman and running back Matt Colburn II with the Rams, receiver Greg Dortch with the Jets, safety Cameron Glenn with the 49ers, offensive lineman Ryan Anderson with the Dolphins and defensive tackle Willie Yarbary with the Falcons. A seventh, defensive end Chris Calhoun, was invited to the Arizona Cardinals’ rookie mini-camp.
Offensive lineman Phil Haynes was the only Wake Forest player picked in the draft, but he’s hardly the lone former Deacon entering the NFL.
Here are the feelings of Glenn, one of four former Wake Forest players who shared what it was like to sign with a team after going undrafted last weekend:
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While Bachman is staying in his hometown, Glenn is moving across the country — even though his hometown team was among those he considered.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native said the teams most interested in him were the 49ers, Chargers and Falcons. Instead of sticking around — Stone Mountain is about 15 miles east of downtown Atlanta — Glenn wanted to put himself outside of his comfort zone.
“I’m the type of person, I don’t like to be around home. I like to change my scenery, I feel like getting away is something I need to do,” Glenn said.
So the two-year starter in the Deacons’ secondary is headed to San Francisco, which didn’t draft a safety last week. The 49ers pursued Glenn the most of any team, he said, which entailed talking to every area scout and being in constant communication with safeties coach Daniel Bullocks for about two weeks.
“They had been keeping the most tabs on me,” Glenn said.
With so much communication, did it start to feel like he was being recruited all over again?
“I remember talking to a couple of my friends and telling them that exact thing, it feels like — I didn’t know what to trust, if they’re talking to me because they want to draft me or if they’re talking to me to secure me in free agency and stuff like that,” Glenn said. “But I mean, I like them and they like me, apparently. I felt most comfortable going with them.”
That’s not based only on feelings, though.
Since the 49ers began reaching out, Glenn has been studying film of the 49ers’ defense. He told Bullocks he could play either of their safety positions — though he knows he could make more of an impact playing close to the line of scrimmage.
That much was clear as he wrapped up his Wake Forest career, with his only 2½ sacks coming in his last four games and a career-high four tackles for loss against N.C. State.
“Everybody dreams of being drafted, you know? And it kinda hurts when that’s not your reality or you have to take a different route,” Glenn said. “So, I was initially disappointed, but I mean, either way I’m still blessed to get an opportunity.”